Mandatory isolation orders for international travellers kick in at midnight: health minister

All travellers returning to Canada — with the exception of what the federal government is calling “essential workers” — will have to enter a mandatory 14-day quarantine as of midnight to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said this morning

“This new measure will provide the clarity for those re-entering the country about the essential need to self-isolate,” she told the Senate, where she was discussing the Liberal government’s emergency legislation to free up $ 82 billion to help Canadians weather the COVID-19 crisis.

“Individuals who exhibit symptoms upon arrival in Canada will be forbidden, also, from using public transit to travel to their places of isolation.”

Hajdu said those travellers also will be forbidden to quarantine in a place where they can come into contact with vulnerable people. She said the Public Health Agency of Canada will make alternative arrangements for people in those circumstances.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said more specific information on enforcement is coming later today. She said the issue of mandatory quarantines was debated at length during the Monday meeting of the cabinet coronavirus committee.

The federal Quarantine Act was updated in 2005 after the deadly SARS outbreak and gives the federal health minister an arsenal of tools to force travellers to stay home.

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